News

The Haitian Immigration Crisis

By Jimena Somilleda

In recent weeks, thousands of Haitian immigrants have crossed the Rio Grande between Ciudad Acuña and Del Rio in hopes of seeking asylum in the United States. Mass migration efforts spiked in lieu of the assassination of Haitian president Jovenel Moïse in July 2021 and after the strike of a catastrophic earthquake. However, when migrants from Haiti and other countries arrived at the Texas-Mexico border, they were met with U.S. Border Patrol authorities on horseback armed with whips. Currently, there are more than 10,000 Haitian immigrants detained at the U.S. – Mexico border awaiting deportation as efforts to crack down on the border intensify.

U.S. officials at the border are quickly trying to process the migrants and asylum seekers detained at the border. Meanwhile, in Mexico, authorities are enforcing strict immigration protocols in attempts to prevent more migrants from approaching the U.S. Border. As of now, there are thousands of migrants and asylum seekers, many of them Haitian, being detained in between the U.S. and Mexico. They currently face the decision of staying in Mexico or turning themselves in to U.S. officials and being deported back to their home nations.

After Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010, the United States granted temporary protected status (TPS) to Haitian migrants, but the Trump administration let this policy expire. The Biden administration renewed this after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and the recent earthquake that wreaked havoc on Haiti. Some migrants were able to obtain TPS on the claim of asylum, but some weren’t as fortunate. Many migrants from Haiti were detained and put  in planes to be deported back to Haiti immediately. Many Haitian migrants however, crossed the border, and at one point more than 10,000 migrants established a massive encampment under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas.

As many Haitian migrants continue to cross the Texas-Mexico border, U.S. Border Patrol Officials were waiting on horseback, using whips to round up Haitian migrants and shouting “Let’s go! Get out now! Back to Mexico!”. Many inhumane and violent crimes have been committed against migrants and asylum seekers by Border Patrol officers, despite Biden’s promise to implement more humane immigration policies and practices. Pictures of U.S. officials on horses, rounding up migrants, have gone viral and have caused an uproar of backlash from the general public.

What is occurring in the southern border of the United States has brought attention to the inhumane and unjust immigration practices implemented by American officials. Many have claimed these practices to be fueled by racism and hatred. Regardless, it is important to consider that many of these migrants are making this life-threatening trek in hopes of a better life in the United States. The events seen at the border are hateful and unnecessary. Something must be done to end this violence.

NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at jerry@galeo.org